January 2021 News from RTT

Welcome to the Winter Term!
We hope you all had some time for rest and relaxation over the holidays and that you continue to be healthy. Now more than ever, we need to continue the recommendations of the CDC--Wearing our masks, Washing our hands and Watching our distances. We are thrilled that the vaccine roll out is progressing in Maine, but we will continue with the "3 W's" until further notice.

As we reflect on 2020, here are some of the many things that we are thankful for :
  • A great start to the year--last January to mid-March we had robust programming on all fronts--therapeutic riding, driving and our school services;
  • Despite being closed from March to June we managed to write over 80 notes to clients, hosted 11 Zoom Socials, and made calls or wrote emails to 80+ volunteers;
  • The opportunity to provide "curbside visits" with over 78 individuals;
  • The ability to re-open in a limited capacity beginning in the summer; and
  • Virtual School programming which began in the fall with Canal Elementary and Greely HS special education students--and a very special in-person visit in December to Canal with Cookie thanks to the help of Becca Platz (photo above).

In total, we provided over 1,165 in-person clients visits in 2020--well below our usual capacity--but quite an accomplishment in light of the COVID pandemic!

My deepest thanks to our staff, volunteers, clients and client families who worked so hard to keep RTT safe during these challenging times and to our donors who were so incredibly generous in their support for RTT.

Looking ahead to 2021, we are continuing to work on the development of a variety of programs (both in-person and virtual), new volunteer training methods and updates, beginning our work with the NIH Research study, re-building our herd as we add more clients back into the schedule and thinking strategically towards our future!
Paperwork updates due!
Our 2021 Client Registration, Financial Aid application and Volunteer Registration are all available on our website. For your convenience here are direct links: Client Registration,
NOTE: Please do not email any personal financial information; you may either bring it in, fax it to 892-6523, or mail it!
Thank you for our new Hay Hut!
Thanks to a generous donor and the hard work of two volunteers, Pat Niboli and Dick Loveitt, "the boys" (Orion, Lucky, Luke and Flynn) have a new hay hut! This sheltered enclosure keeps their hay off the ground and prevents rain and snow from affecting it. As you can see from this photo of the builders, Pat, Sarah and Dick, the hay hut is spacious!
Welcome to our Winter Intern!
Emma Burke, a University of New England junior, will be interning at RTT for the Winter and Spring Sessions. She is majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Art Therapy. Emma describes herself as "passionate about the study of human and animal connection in the environment, especially in a therapeutic way." She will be at RTT on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so please be on the lookout for her -- welcome, Emma!
NIH Study Update
On January 4th and 5th, nineteen RTT staff members and volunteers participated in Zoom trainings, along with personnel from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Children's Hospital in Colorado, and Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Program in Colorado in preparation for a NIH funded research study. The training was devoted to the work that we'll be doing over the next five years examining the physiological changes that occur in children with autism during therapeutic riding. We are excited to be starting the process and look forward to the day when we will be able to welcome study participants! Thank you to our staff and volunteers for beginning this process! To learn more about this study, click here.
RTT Connection Corner
Hello Fellow RTT parents and caregivers! Happy 2021! With the New Year here and the turning of the calendar pages many of us are inspired to change an old routine, improve our work at home or school, or even try something new! I thought this month we could celebrate our successes and step outside of our comfort zones to try something new.
1.    Take a minute to watch the video above about a sweet story of a little girl who learned a powerful lesson about making mistakes.

2.   New Year= New Goals! Use this worksheet to reflect on your accomplishments at home, school, and RTT. Think about trying something new too!

3.   We all make mistakes, right? It’s okay! Great things can happen when we allow ourselves to not be so perfect! Watch this video to the right about some super inventions that came from someone making a mistake!
4.   Get outside and be creative! Winter in Maine is so beautiful. Why not create some beautiful ice sun catchers to display around your yard for all to enjoy!
Link for frozen suncatchers: https://runwildmychild.com/frozen-suncatchers/

Have something to share? We would love to hear about some of your fun and creative ideas too! We would love to feature your idea in next months newsletter! Send along a video, picture or link to Kate.
RTT Horse News!!!
We’ve had a few changes in the herd since the last newsletter. Sammy moved to a new home, where he can put his extensive dressage training to better use. He is now a lesson horse for dressage riders at his new home in Auburn, Maine. He has settled in well and is very happy there. We miss Sammy’s kind and big personality but know that he will be a wonderful addition at his new farm. Our thanks to Kathleen Fox for entrusting us with Sammy's care for the past year and a half.
We also wel-comed two new horses to the farm! Our instructor, Cynde, is boarding Bobby and Dunkin with us for the winter. They arrived the first week of January and settled right into their new winter home. They have been enjoying their sunny paddock and have made friends with Babe and Beloved across the fence. Bobby and Dunkin are also working in some lessons with our clients and volunteers and are already great (though temporary) additions to RTT's herd! 
And RTT horse visitors!
RTT recently had an adorable, curious and brave visitor to the farm! Cha Cha is a mini, owned by Rebecca Platz who lives with RTT's Cookie and Onyx, and a mini donkey named Sylvester at Becca’s family's farm. In preparation for doing some more off site visits with RTT, Becca wanted to desensi-tize Cha Cha to some new surroundings. At RTT, she roamed the halls, visited Kate’s office, cruised around the arena, went up on the platform and met Stuffy! She was a fun and lively visitor and we hope to see her back at RTT soon.
Food Pantry Thanks!
Thank you to all who donated to RTT's food drive in December! Because of your generosity, we were able to make a large donation to the Windham Food Pantry who supports local residents and the Windham Veterans' Center. In this time of need, thank you for making a difference!
Stay Connected
Follow us on Social Media
If you don't already, follow us on social media to see herd and farm updates. Find us on Facebook , Instagram (@ridingtothetop), YouTube , and on our private RTT Participants and Volunteers group .

Send us an e-mail
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you want to see from us, or just send us a hello!

Keeping Track!
We have been packing these newsletters full of information and resources and wanted a way to keep track of it all. This document contains links to RTT Safe at Home Activities and Resources!
Shopping from home? Shop for RTT!
Choose RTT as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile, while you're shopping, pick out a few items on RTT's Wish List!
Riding To The Top | ridingtothetop.org